Part of USS Sarek: Lies I Loved and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

Lies I Loved – 3

USS Sarek, Bridge
November 2400
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Dressed in her anachronistic gold uniform from Kellin’s promotion party, Captain Taes sat herself in her command chair on the bridge.  She fixed her posture, poised herself.  That included gripping the armrests to prevent her hands from fidgeting with nervous energy.

Scant days earlier, Task Force 17 Command had ordered the USS Sarek to fill the role of a Starfleet research facility, remaining within the relative safety of the Markonian Outpost.  The Sutherland-class starship had more than enough shielding to protect herself, but she wasn’t nimble or well-armed enough to be a credible tactical threat to the many risks of the Delta Quadrant.  Moreover, the Sarek was populated with a diverse crew –less than five percent of them human– which meant a higher proportion of them possessed telepathic abilities in one way or another, including Taes herself.  Although, to date, there had been no test case on blood dilithium’s influence on other Deltans.

Taes couldn’t imagine what had changed so quickly to result in her crew being given new orders.  She glanced back over her shoulder to see the comforting presence of Lieutenant Commander Kellin Rayco taking over the tactical console from Lieutenant Jurij.  She shared a proud smile with him.  His smile was bashful in return.

“Lieutenant Commander Rayco,” Taes said, relishing in the way his new rank sounded, “Put the transmission on screen.”

The sprawling tendrils of the Markonian space station, where the USS Sarek was docked, were clearly visible through the transparent viewscreen.  Upon Kellin opening the subspace communications channel, a translucent hologram of Captain Andreus Kohl, from the chest up, was overlayed atop the viewscreen.  From the activity Taes could see over Kohl’s shoulders, it was apparent the task force deputy was contacting Taes from Starfleet’s makeshift command centre aboard the outpost.

Captain Taes,” Kohl said, “I promised you full access to the blood dilithium we cart back to the Markonian Outpost.  You were supposed to be my favourite research laboratory.  Certainly, you’re the largest in our task force!  It’s become apparent, though, the Gradin Belt is a sprawling theatre and our task forces are spreading thing.  I’ve discovered your crew’s specialist expertise is required elsewhere.

Kohl grasped at a holographic LCARS pane just out of view and then he tossed the data at the communication interface.  The subspace transmission of Kohl narrowed, sharing the Sarek‘s viewscreen with a sensor image of one paraticular star system in the Gradin Belt.

Kohl explained the sensor data, by saying, “A DEI scout has located blood dilithium in the Burleigh system.  The crystals have bloomed deep into the crust of the second moon orbiting the fourth planet.  Diplomats in the Turei Alliance tell us the system is unaligned and unremarkable.  Burleigh Minor’s atmosphere is M-class, barely, and our scouts have confirmed the entire system is uninhabited.

“The solar radiation in the Burleigh system makes it entirely unsuitable for colonization,” reported Doctor Flavia from where she had settled herself at a console in the science hub.  She tapped a holographic LCARS interface, filtering the sensor data through several analytical algorithms.  

Upon further consideration, Flavia said, “The radiation wouldn’t be immediately fatal, but it will lead to long-term illness in most humanoid species.”

Seated at the mission specialist chair to the captain’s left, Chief Medical Officer Pimpinellifolia immediately interjected, “I will prepare anti-radiation inoculations for the crew.”

“Any away teams will need portable deflector units,” added Leander Nune at the engineering hub, upon assessing the sensor data on the Burleigh system. “Probably transporter pattern enhancers too.”

The USS Palm Springs has taken similar precautions,” Kohl said in agreement.  “They were first assigned to begin mining the blood dilithium, but their mining equipment has taken damage.  This pocket of blood dilithium has bloomed beneath the buried remains of a civilization.  They’ve found chunks of what may be habitats or starship hulls, along with humanoid remains.  I’m assigning you to learn more about this lost civilization and to ensure the remains of any sentient beings are treated respectfully.  Your crew is vast and complex, especially with our scientific guests from the Romulan Free State.  Please continue to study your blood dilithium crystals, and their health effects, while you’re at it.

Taes nodded at Kohl’s image.  “We’ll depart immediately, captain.”

Be safe and be brilliant, captain,” Kohl said.

As soon as Kohl’s image vanished from the viewscreen, Taes began giving orders, “Operations, clear all moorings and lines to the outpost.  Lieutenant Szerda, please set course for–“

Nune interrupted to say, “Captain, any away teams will need portable deflector units.  Probably transporter pattern enhancers too.”

Yes, lieutenant,” Taes said.  Caught off-guard by Nune repeating his earlier recommendation, Taes wasn’t successful in hiding the annoyance in her intonation.  She squinted at him and she cleared her throat.

“Agreed,” Taes added.  “Ready your supplies and begin replicating anything you need.  Operations will ensure you have first priority.”

“No, captain, you don’t understand,” Nune said firmly.  He raised his voice on the don’t, plainly emphasizing his point.  From his aft-facing console, he had a direct eye-line to the captain and his dark eyes were locked on Taes like tractor beams.  

“We need pattern enhancers,” Nune went on.  “Desperately.  As deep in the moon as they’ll be mining, I can’t guarantee a signal lock!”

Taes’ voice quivered, when she said, “Yes, lieutenant, I promise I understand.”  She frowned at him more deeply.  Nune had always been quick to passion, but she had never seen this edge of mania in his eyes.  

Please, captain!” Nune shouted now.  He slapped his console with his palms three times. “You have to listen to me!”

Over Taes’ shoulder, Kellin consolingly said, “Babe, we’re listening.”

Pleeeeeeeaaaaaaase!” Nune screamed.  “Please, your lives will depend on it.  We need those deflectors!  Please!

Doctor Pimpinellifolia pressed a hypospray into Nune’s neck.  Taes hadn’t even noticed Pimpinellifolia getting out of their seat and creeping down the stairs to the engineering hub.  A moment later, Nune collapsed forward, losing consciousness. Slumped against his console, Taes could see the neurocortical monitor on his neck flashing wildly in alarm.

The science department had been studying blood dilithium aboard the Sarek for only a few days, and Nune had reported no ill feelings other than a wisp of dread.  Taes could hardly hypothesise what had changed so drastically for the Betazoid that Nune’s vague dread had escalated into an outburst of inconsolable panic like that.

“I will transport him to sickbay,” Pimpinellifolia offered.  The Phylosian medical officer lay four of their prehensile vines across Nune’s shoulders while using another vine to scan him with a medical tricorder.

“Lieutenant Szerda,” Taes said, loud enough to be heard across the bridge, “Set course for Burleigh system.  Warp seven.”

“Course laid in,” Annikafiore Szerda confirmed from flight control.  Once she plotted in the coordinates in the helm, she looked back over her shoulder to nod at Taes.

Taes watched as Lieutenants Nune and Pimpinellifolia dematerialised in their site-to-site transport to sickbay.  Taes closed her eyes.  She took a breath.  Given her own in-born Deltan empathy, she pondered how long it would take before Pimpinellifolia was calmly telling Commander Elbon that they would drag Taes away to sickbay too.

Taes opened her eyes.  

“Let’s find out,” Taes announced and the Sarek jumped to warp.

Comments

  • Oooh...and it begins. One down, lots to go. I'm looking forward to seeing how Nune reacts when he awakens, or how things will progress with such a diverse crew. When the repetition for the pattern enhancers started I was confused, then I thought it might have been Taes, so the build-up to it actually being Nune was well done in my opinion and spot on. As always your writing is lovely and spot on, nice and easy to read as it flows smoothly for me. Also love the image of Taes in command yellow...spot on!

    November 4, 2022
  • So it begins! Sarek’s mission takes its first twist. Loving the image of Taes in command gold, ever so splendid. After Nune’s antics in the previous post, I’ll admit that I did a little fist pump when Nelli sedated him and shut him up. With such a diverse crew, BD’s affects can be explored to the maximum. As for Deltans, I have a few questions to answer about my own bald headed crew mate that I hadn’t even considered… thank you for inspiring me further!

    November 4, 2022
  • As always I enjoy how you write for Doctor Nelli. They are such a unique character, like Cellar Door, that you make each detail of how they move and interact fascinating to read. I love how you make sure, in a subtle way, they aren't seen as a humanoid but there isn't an issue with how they get on with the other characters. I love how diverse your characters are. Nune is the first to go and that worry concern from Taes makes me worried she will hand over command sooner than we think.

    November 5, 2022
  • Unknown Author

    So it begins! Sarek’s mission takes its first twist. Loving the image of Taes in command gold, ever so splendid. After Nune’s antics in the previous post, I’ll admit that I did a little fist pump when Nelli sedated him and shut him up. With such a diverse crew, BD’s affects can be explored to the maximum. As for Deltans, I have a few questions to answer about my own bald headed crew mate that I hadn’t even considered… thank you for inspiring me further!

    November 5, 2022
  • Ohh the first shots fired so to speak! This was a great little scene first with the interaction with the bridge crew operating as a well trained unit, I didn’t catch at first that Nune was having an issue. His deterioration here was well written, totally believable. I was with the crew there with confusion until the penny finally dropped. Then the tension as the crew once again swings into action to deal with the situation. Well played, love it!

    November 7, 2022
  • I love the trope of 'crew are forced to stations wearing the clothes of their ridiculous costume party' and frankly we can always make it sillier than Generations ever did! Love the little detail of the communication with Kohl, anyway, with physically moving a holographically projected file onto the comms display. Tiny thing but it felt very 'new Trek scifi.' Oh God, this really accellerated REAL fast with Nune, huh? I love how that went from 'officer is being a bit too fastidious and it's annoying Taes' to 'oop something's hella wrong' in a heartbeat; there's so many (lovely) stories of slow-burning dread that this was just a SWERVE, love it. Also, what will be the impact on the rest of the characters of Nune, of all people, being so incapacitated? Great stuff.

    November 7, 2022
  • It is a wonderful piece of introducing the mission to the crew of Sarek. Kohl giving them a not-so-related scientific missions and yet there is so much more to it. The thing that got me was the sudden change of behavior from Nune, being to close to the Blood Dilithium has some serious impact on Nune and it is clearly visible. Great work!

    November 7, 2022
  • Wow that escalated quickly with Nune, I was so confused as I was reading it but then was like oh boy something not right! I love the fact that no one saw Nelli walk up to Nune and inject him until they were already there. I am curious as to why he went from not experiencing anything to that extreme panic in his voice. Will we see more of the crew start feeling symptoms? Will Taes be forced to give up command because she becomes affected? I can't wait to read more about what's going to happen with the Sarek! Great work!

    November 14, 2022